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The Arabic philosophical fable Hayy Ibn Yaqzan is a classic of medieval Islamic philosophy. Ibn Tufayl (d. ), the Andalusian philosopher, tells of a child. Isolated from human civilization, the infant Hayy ibn Yaqzan is raised by a gazelle on a deserted island Through observation, experimentation, and speculation. Ibn Tufail’s Hayy ibn Yaqdhan had a significant influence on Arabic literature, Persian literature, and European literature after it was translated in into Latin.

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The scenario is what Rousseau predicted of the collective. The third type of likeness contrasts to the two other types, to the inanimate and animate beings on earth.

The Improvement of Human Reason: Ibn Tufail wrote a short introduction to his romance, in which he discusses briefly some of the views held by the leading Muslim exponents of mystic philosophy before his time, namely, al-Farabi, Avicenna, al-Ghazali and Avempace. Enchained in the fetters of the senses, their intelligence can respond only to concrete imagery and their moral nature is in most cases amenable to nothing higher than a crude system of rewards and punishments.

‘Hayy ibn Yaqdhan’ and the European Enlightenment

The young Kant seems particularly annoyed that he has spent a great deal of money and time on buying and reading these volumes. But truth must be one. He died in the following year, 1 1 85, at the capital, the City of Morocco, and was buried there with great ceremony, the Caliph himself attending his obsequies. Then Asal told him that this Class was superior to all other sorts of Men in Knowledge and Sagacity ; and that if he could not work upon them, there were much lesser Hopes of doing any Good upon the Vulgar.

Such a technique is reminiscent of Socrates in The Republic who has no choice but to resort to a series of analogies in order to describe what is meant by the Good.

But a feral child, will, of course, not develop in the trajectory hayj the protagonist Hayy. Ibn Tufail’s Hayy ibn Yaqdhan was written as both a continuation of Avicenna’s version of the story and as a response to al-Ghazali ‘s The Incoherence of the Philosopherswhich had criticized many of Avicenna’s views. That is the conclusion that this book reaches about the human race in general, whereas the ideal man is a solitary man, living in mystical union with God.

Everything must have a cause and so he got the idea that there had to be a maker of some kind. Then he progressed with him, little by nayy and step by step, until in no time Hayy could speak. Ibn Tufayl contrasts these two aspects of Islam through the characters yaqxhan Absal and his friend Salaman.


Hayy was continuing therefore in a proud Tradition of self-made men. Hoping that yaqdhab might heal the gazelle, using tools he himself had jaqdhan, he split open her chest and explored her organs. Ibn Tufayl provides the reader with a wonderful analogy to explain this form of apprehension: Our author borrowed the names of his characters, but little more than this, from Ibn Sina Avicenna. And these two Actions are common to Plants and Animals, and do with- out doubt spring from that Form which is com- mon to iibn both, which is what we call the Vegetative Soul.

And so he went about doing so, soon discovering that there is a sort of, hot vapor that animates all life. Unable to find this Cause in the sensory world, he speculated further concerning the celestial realm and metaphysics.

Hayy ibn Yaqzan |

His programme was to capture Sahtarem, the key position in Portugal ;to annex the whole of that region as far as the Douro, thence to advance on Toledo and teach a lesson to the King of Castile, Alphonso VIII, whose forces for some time past had discomfited the Muslims in minor, encounters. For hsyy Spirit emanates continually and abundantly from the Most High and Glorious God, and may be compared to the Light of the Sun which is sent forth continually and abundantly over the World.

That in order for a city to be ideal, it had to help the most of its citizens yaqehan happiness, and their own perfection. Sure enough, it was protected, as it arrived on the island safely.

Nothing New Under the Sun

It is a theme that Avicenna explores some more in his thought-experiment the Floating Man whereby he asks the reader to conceive oneself being created at once while floating in mid-air, being completely divorced from all sensations and with no past; no objects to perceive, including your own body. The tale was first published in the West in by Edward Pococke with an introduction by his father, a renowned professor of Arabic and Hebrew at Oxford University.

And so he does his best to do these things. Both Hayy and Absal refrain from their pursuit of sublimity in order to learn more about each other. Peace and prosperity now reigned in Africa, the state coffers were well filled, and the Caliph, feeling himself in a position to deal a damaging blow at the Christian power in Spain, ordered prepara- tions for an offensive on an immense scale.

The third kind of their Properties were such as had relation to the necessarily self-existent Agent, as their con- tinually beholding him without any Interrup- tion, and having a Desire towards him, being busied in his Service, and moving agreeable to his Will, and not otherwise, but as he pleased, and by his Power.

Ibn Tufayl’s masterpiece remains as relevant today as it was centuries ago. The narrator describes an island near Hayy’s uninhabited one.


He had a vehement desire to find that part where the defect was, that he might remove it, and she return to her former State. World Literature and Its Times: We return to the opposite island from the first of the two birth stories. But then again the Corporeal Faculties would return upon him and spoil his the history of Contemplation, and bring him down to the lowest degree 1 where he was before.

It was also due to Ibn Tufayl that Averroes was commissioned to complete the ambitious project of writing commentaries on the works of Aristotle which were to have such an immense influence of philosophy in the West.

‘Hayy ibn Yaqdhan’ and the European Enlightenment – İbrahim Kalın – Daily Sabah

But to continue it as he did, is a tribute to his predecessor Ibn Bajja. Hayy noted that when he shut his eyes or something was put in front of them, he ceased to be able to see until the obstruction was removed.

Octagon, ; Two Andalusian Philosopherstranslated with a introduction and notes by Jim Colville. The thoughts expressed in the novel can be found “in different variations and to different degrees haty the books of Thomas HobbesJohn LockeIsaac Newtonand Immanuel Kant.

In the remaining seven-year stages through age 49Hayy seeks to know God through spiritual exercises that lead to his having the sublime experience of obliterating the distinctions between himself and the object of his contemplation.

T o appeal to the first was hopeless, and he did not try.

This beautiful scheme of obscurantism ap- pears to have been adopted by the Almohad sovereigns generally, and gladly accepted by the enlightened few who lived under their rule. He tells them that they should. What made him [Hayy] think so was his naive belief that all men had outstanding character, brilliant minds and resolute spirits.

No inconsis- tency or error could be admitted on any side. Hayy determines that certain trappings of civilizationnamely imagery and dependence on material goods, are necessary for the multitude in order that they might have decent lives.

And the fitness of a Body for one Motion rather than another, is its Disposition and Form. He uses an analogy of bowls of different substances filled with inb amounts of water. So that he despaired of doing any Good upon them, and all his Hopes of amending them were defeated, because they were not willing to receive what he taught them.

None of this could be different.